Rosen, Amodei Sworn Into Office
Sen. Jacky Rosen and Rep. Mark Amodei took their oaths, Thursday, marking the beginning of the 116th Congress.
Thursday marks the beginning of the 116th Congress. For the first time in Nevada's history, two women represent the Silver State in the U.S. Senate. Jacky Rosen took the oath of office to become Nevada's Junior Senator. She was accompanied by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto during the ceremony.
"I am so incredibly humbled to have the opportunity to serve the Senate in Nevada," Rosen, D-Nevada said. "As I was sworn in today, it was very moving and I realized the responsibility to serve our constituents for the entire state."
Rosen reinforced her campaign message about protecting people with pre-existing conditions and immigration reform. She says lawmakers will likely be very bipartisan on issues like transportation and infrastructure but that other issues will be difficult.
The Congress begins nearly two weeks into the government shutdown. President Donald Trump says a spending deal has to include money for a border wall but democrats say they will not agree to funding the wall. Rosen says she will donate her paycheck to charities in Nevada that help families of domestic violence during the shutdown. She says an agreement is needed soon since about 19,000 Nevadans are federal employees.
"Not all of course, affected by the shutdown, but 2,000 or so work for the Department of Interior and so they're not going to get a paycheck," Rosen said. "We need to end this government shutdown."
Rep. Mark Amodei agrees that the shutdown will not solve anything. He says many of those employees work in agencies like the BLM, US Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation, and that the longer the shutdown drags out, the worse off they will be.
"In the time I've been here, shutdowns have not worked," Amodei, R-Nevada said. "Regardless of what side of the issue you're on or not, nobody went 'Okay, Uncle. I'll do what you want.' My fear is this. The longer it goes on without resolution, the more that inches towards normal and that's not good for the missions of those agencies."
"What this signals is that we need to have comprehensive immigration reform," Rosen said. "One that does address these issues and allows people to come into our country."
Amodei is the only republican to represent Nevada in Washington. With democrats taking control of the House, he says the day belonged to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the new members of her party.
"There's a lot of, I think, jubilation and stuff like that and you kind of feel like a spectator but nonetheless, I've got friends on that side, too, which is neat to see."
He says it will take a few months before he knows how well this congress will work together. He says there are a lot of important issues for Nevada, including airport expansion in southern Nevada, Navy expansion in northern Nevada and the Pershing County land bill. Appropriations involving Homeland Security and Yucca Mountain are also on his radar. Amodei says he works well with the democrats from Nevada, and says the rest of our lawmakers have to put aside politics.
"When you look at the facts and it just seems like the more political personalities take over, the less issue resolution will happen and it's frustrating," Amodei said.
Rosen says she does not expect Yucca Mountain to gain any traction in the democratic-held House of Representatives but she says she will fight alongside Cortez Masto and others to block legislation if it does make it to the Senate. The two senators are both in their first term and they are members of the senate's minority party so there are questions of how much influence Nevada will have.
"The role in the minority is to educate, illuminate and inform and to shine a spotlight on what the other side is unwilling to do to take care of issues that affect hard-working families," Rosen said.
Rosen says she plans to represent Nevada in the same way she campaigned, by traveling throughout the state to listen to her constituents.